From wakeboarding to tackling floating obstacles in a new aqua park, Gayle enjoys an adrenaline-fuelled morning of watery fun at Foxlake Dundee
Wakeboarding – it sounds oh-so cool. For the uninitiated, it may even sound a little bit daunting.
Let me assure you that while it most definitely is cool, it’s anything but daunting.
I discovered this for myself when I signed up for a wakeboarding session at Foxlake Dundee.
Having experimented with dozens of watersports, I think this one may be my new favourite.
So what exactly is wakeboarding?
Instructor Iain Brough describes it as “a mix of snowboarding, surfing and skateboarding” and basically, the sport involves the use of a wide board instead of two long “planks” attached to the feet, as in waterskiing.
An overhead cable, controlled by the instructor, pulls you up and out of the water.
Iain’s first tip is not to rush any movements, particularly the stand-up manoeuvre.
“A lot of guys go at this gung-ho and when they try to stand up, they often face-plant,” he says.
“So when the cable pulls you up, draw your knees up to your chest and try to stretch your arms in front of you, rather than keeping them stuck to you like crab claws.
“The key is staying low with bent knees to start; low centre of gravity helps balance.”
The water is a balmy 20C and in a wetsuit, there’s no chance of feeling cold.
As Iain lowers me into the water and hoists me up with the cable, I amaze myself by not falling in.
Then I find myself zipping along the surface of the water – not at great speed, I must admit, but it feels amazing.
When I reach the end of the cable, I turn and repeat the process, trying to avoid slamming into obstacles jutting out of the water.
“You’re a natural!” shouts Iain. “But this time, try to balance your weight evenly and bring your arms to your front hip so the board – and you – are facing forwards.”
I manage this without too much effort, and after a few shots up and down, with my speed increasing each time, I’m thoroughly exhilarated.
I’m not skilled enough to attempt to “catch air” or tackle jumps – this is only my first lesson after all – but give it a few weeks, and who knows!
It would be rude not to check out Foxlake’s latest addition – the new urban aqua park which is the first in Scotland.
This features 18 floating obstacles which test your balance and agility, including water chutes and bridges all leading to the “mountain”, which is 3.8m at its highest point. That’s almost 13ft in old money.
It’s an inclusive course, with obstacles of varying difficulty, and it’s similar to what you see on TV Show Total Wipeout.
I tackle the “mountain” the hard way – which involves hauling myself up on a rope and scrambling around in an ungainly manner.
It’s trickier than it looks and with no purchase, I slip and flail all over the place. Indeed, it takes all my strength to scramble to the very top.
Heart racing, I then throw myself down the giant slide, landing with an almighty splash at the bottom. Brilliant.
Even after a good 90 mins at Foxlake Dundee, I’m reluctant to leave; it really is that addictive.
As I walk back to the office, hair dripping and smelling of sea salt, I bump into a mate who’d tried wakeboarding the previous week.
“Your arms will be sore for days!” she warns with a cheeky wink.
Sure enough, my shoulders ache the next day … and the day after!
This, I take as a positive sign that I’ve actually had a workout without noticing.
The great thing about Foxlake Dundee is that it offers up an amazing variety of watersports for all ages and abilities.
With summer in full swing, now’s the ideal time to give it a whirl. So come on – dive right on in!
Foxlake Dundee is based at City Quay. The company guarantees if you don’t manage to get up in your first wakeboarding session, you get your money back!
Wetsuits, helmets and buoyancy-aids are provided.
Alongside wakeboarding and the aqua park, Foxlake also offers ringo rides, paddleboarding (and paddleboard yoga).
For more details. see www.foxlakedundee.co.uk